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Cap'n Warren's Wards by Joseph C. Lincoln

Part 2 out of 7

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"But to think of that old Down-Easter being related to the Warren
family!" he mused. "It seems impossible."

"Nothing is impossible," observed his mother. Then, with a
shudder, "You never met your father's relatives. I have."

When Captain Elisha emerged from his room, after a wash and a
change of linen, he found the library untenanted. He strolled
about, his hands behind him, inspecting the pictures with critical
interest. Caroline, dressed for dinner, found him thus engaged.
He turned at the sound of her step.

"Why, hello!" he cried, with hearty enthusiasm. "All rigged up for
inspection, ain't you?"


"Oh, that's just sailor's lingo. Means you've got your Sunday
uniform on, that's all. My! my! how nice you look! But ain't
black pretty old for such a young girl?"

"I am in mourning," replied his niece, coldly.

"There! there! of course you are. Tut! tut! How could I forget
it. You see, I've been so many years feelin' as if I didn't have a
brother that I've sort of got used to his bein' gone."

"I have not." Her eyes filled as she said it. The captain was
greatly moved.

"I'm a blunderin' old fool, my dear," he said. "I beg your pardon.
Do try to forgive me, won't you? And, perhaps--perhaps I can make
up your loss to you, just a little mite. I'd like to. I'll try
to, if--"

He laid a hand on her shoulder. She avoided him and, moving away,
seated herself in a chair at the opposite side of the desk. The
avoidance was so obvious as to be almost brutal. Captain Elisha
looked very grave for an instant. Then he changed the subject.

"I was lookin' at your oil paintin's," he said. "They're pretty
fine, ain't they? Any of them your work, Caroline?"

"MY work?" The girl's astonishment was so great that she turned to
stare at her questioner. "MY work?" she repeated. "Are you
joking? You can't think that I painted them."

"I didn't know but you might. That one over there, with the trees
and folks dancin'--sort of picnic scene, I judge--that looks as if
you might have done it."

"That is a Corot."

"'Tis, hey? I want to know! A--a--what did you call it?"

"A Corot. He was a famous French artist. That was father's
favorite picture."

"Sho! Well, I like it fust-rate myself. Did 'Bije--did your
father know this Mr. Corot well?"

"Know him? Certainly not. Why should you think such a thing as

"Well, he bought the picture of him, and so I s'pose likely he knew
him. There was a young feller come to South Denboro three or four
year ago and offered to paint a picture of our place for fifteen
dollars. Abbie--that's Abbie Baker, she's one of our folks, you
know, your third cousin, Caroline; keepin' house for me, she is--
Abbie wanted me to have him do the job, but I wa'n't very
particular about it, so it never come to nothin'. He done two or
three places, though, and I swan 'twas nice work! He painted Sam
Cahoon's old ramshackle house and barn, and you'd hardly know it,
'twas so fixed up and fine, in the picture. White paint and green
grass and everything just like real. He left out the places where
the pickets was off the fence and the blinds hangin' on one hinge.
I told Abbie, I says, 'Abbie, that painter's made Sam's place look
almost respectable, and if that ain't a miracle, I don't know what
is. I would think Sam would blush every time he sees that
picture.' Ho, ho! Abbie seemed to cal'late that Sam Cahoon's
blushin' would be the biggest miracle of the two. Ho! ho! You'd
like Abbie; she's got lots of common sense."

He chuckled at the reminiscence and rubbed his knee. His niece
made no reply. Captain Elisha glanced at the Corot once more and
asked another question.

"I presume likely," he said, "that that picture cost consider'ble
more than fifteen, hey?"

"Father paid twenty-two thousand dollars for it," was the crushing

The captain looked at her, opened his mouth to speak, shut it
again, and, rising, walked across the room. Adjusting his glasses,
he inspected the Corot in silence for a few minutes. Then he drew
a long breath.

"Well!" he sighed. "WELL." Then, after an interval, "Was this the
only one he ever painted?"

"The only one? The only picture Corot painted? Of course not!
There are many more."

"Did--did this Corot feller get as much for every job as he did for

"I presume so. I know father considered this one a bargain."

"Did, hey? Humph! I ought to know enough by this time not to
believe all I hear, but I kind of had an idea that picture paintin'
was starvation work. I've read about artists committin' suicide,
and livin' in attics, and such. Whew! About two such bargain sale
jobs as this, and I'd guarantee not to starve--and to live as nigh
the ground as a second-floor bedroom anyhow. How about this next
one? This feller in a dory--coddin', I guess he is. Did--did Mr.
Corot do him?"

"No. That is by a well-known American artist. It is a good piece
of work, but not like the other. It is worth much less. Perhaps
five thousand."

"So? Well, even for that I'd undertake to buy consider'ble many
dories, and hire fellers to fish from 'em, too. Humph! I guess
I'm out of soundin's. When I thought fifteen dollars was a high
price for paintin' a view of a house I was slightly mistaken. Next
time I'll offer the paintin' feller the house and ask him what he
considers a fair boot, besides. Sam Cahoon's a better speculator
than I thought he was. Hello, Commodore! what's worryin' you now?"

Edwards appeared to announce that dinner was served. Caroline rose
and led the way to the dining room. Captain Elisha followed,
looking curiously about him as he did so. Stephen, who had been
sulkily dressing in his own room, entered immediately after.

The captain surveyed the dining room with interest. Like the
others of the suite, it was sumptuously and tastefully furnished.
He took the chair indicated by the solemn Edwards, and the meal

The butler's sense of humor was not acute, but it was with
considerable difficulty that he restrained his smiles during the
next half hour. A more appreciative observer would have noticed
and enjoyed the subtler points. Stephen's glare of disgust at his
uncle when the latter tucked his napkin in the opening of his
waistcoat; Caroline's embarrassment when the captain complimented
the soup, declaring that it was almost as good as one of Abbie's
chowders; the visitor's obvious uneasiness at being waited upon
attentively, and the like. These Edwards missed, but he could not
help appreciating Captain Elisha's conversation.

Caroline said little during dinner. Her brother glowered at his
plate and was silent. But the captain talked and talked.

"Maybe you think I didn't have a time findin' your new lodgin's,"
he said. "I come over on the cars, somethin' I don't usually do
when there's anything afloat to carry me. But I had an errand or
two to do in Boston, so I stopped over night at the hotel there
and got the nine o'clock train. I landed here in New York all
shipshape and on time, and started in to hunt you up."

"How did you get our address?" asked his niece. "Mr. Graves
couldn't have given it to you, for we only decided on this
apartment a few days ago."

"Ho! ho!" chuckled Captain Elisha, rolling in his chair, like a
ship in a cross sea. "Ho! ho! You remind me of Abbie, Caroline.
That's what she said. 'I never heard of such a crazy cruise,' she
says. ' Startin' off to visit folks when you haven't the least
idea where they live!' 'Oh, yes, I have,' I says, 'I know where
they live; they live in New York.' Well, you ought to have seen
her face. Abbie's a good woman--none better--but she generally
don't notice a joke until she trips over it. I get consider'ble
fun out of Abbie, take her by the large. 'New York!' she says.
'Did anybody ever hear the beat of that? Do you cal'late New
York's like South Denboro, where everybody knows everybody else?
What are you plannin' to do? run up the fust man, woman or child
you meet and ask 'em to tell you where 'Bijah Warren lives? Or are
you goin' to trot from Dan to Beersheby, trustin' to meet your
nephew and niece on the way? I never in my born days!'

"Well," went on the captain, "I told her that the last suggestion
weren't such a bad one, but there was one little objection to it.
Considerin' that I hadn't ever laid eyes on Steve and that I
hadn't seen you since you was a baby, the chances was against my
recognizin' you if we did meet. Ho, ho, ho! Finally I hinted that
I might look in the directory, and she got more reconciled to my
startin'. Honest, I do believe she'd have insisted on takin' me by
the hand and leadin' me to you, if I hadn't told her that.

"So I did look in the directory and got the number on Fifth Avenue
where you used to be. I asked a policeman the nighest way to get
there, and he said take a bus. Last time I was in New York I rode
in one of those Fifth Avenue omnibuses, and I never got such a
jouncin' in my life. The pavement then was round cobble stones,
like some of the roads in Nantucket. I remember I tried to ask a
feller that set next to me somethin' or other, and I swan to man I
couldn't get nothin' out of my mouth but rattles. 'Metropolitan
Museum,' sounded like puttin' in a ton of coal. I thought I was
comin' apart, or my works was out of order, or somethin', but when
the feller tried to answer he rattled just as bad, so I realized
'twas the reg'lar disease and felt some better. I never shall
forget a fleshy woman--somethin' like that Mrs. Dunn friend of
yours, Caroline--that set opposite me. It give me the crawls to
look at her, her chins shook around so. Ho! ho! she had no less'n
three of 'em, and they all shook different ways. Ho! ho! ho! If
I'd been in the habit of wearin' false hair or teeth or anything
that wa'n't growed to or buttoned on me I'd never have risked a
trip in one of those omnibuses.

"So when the police officer prescribed one for me this v'yage, I
was some dubious. I'm older'n I was ten year ago, and I wa'n't
sure that I'd hold together. I cal'lated walkin' was better for my
health. So I found Fifth Avenue and started to walk. And the
farther I walked the heavier that blessed satchel of mine got. It
weighed maybe ten or twelve pounds at the corner of 42nd Street,
but when I got as far as the open square where the gilt woman is
hurryin' to keep from bein' run over by Gen'ral Sherman on
horseback--that statue, you know--I wouldn't have let that blessed
bag go for less'n two ton, if I was sellin' it by weight. So I
leaned up against an electric light pole to rest and sort of get my
bearin's. Then I noticed what I'd ought to have seen afore, that
the street wa'n't paved with cobbles, as it used to be, but was
smooth as a stretch of state road down home. So I figgered that a
bus was a safe risk, after all. I waited ten minutes or more for
one to come, and finally I asked a woman who was in tow of an
astrakhan-trimmed dog at the end of a chain, if the omnibuses had
stopped runnin'. When I fust see the dog leadin' her I thought she
was blind, but I guess she was deef and dumb instead. Anyhow, all
she said was 'Ugh!' not very enthusiastic, at that, and went along.
Ho! ho! So then I asked a man, and he pointed to a bus right in
front of me. You see, I was lookin' for the horses, same as they
used to be, and this was an automobile.

"I blushed, I guess, just to show that there was some red underneath
the green, and climbed aboard the omnibus. I rode along for a
spell, admirin' as much of the scenery as I could see between the
women's hats, then I told the skipper of the thing that I wanted to
make port at 82nd Street. He said 'Ugh,' apparently suff'rin' from
the same complaint the dog woman had, and we went on and on. At
last I got kind of anxious and asked him again.

"'Eighty-second!' says he, ugly. 'This is Ninety-first.'

"'Good land!' says I. 'I wanted Eighty-second.'

"'Why didn't you say so?' says he, lookin' as if I'd stole his
mother's spoons.

"'I did,' says I.

"'You DID?' he snarls. 'You did not! If you did, wouldn't I have
heard you?'

"Well, any answer I'd be likely to make to that would have meant
more argument, and the bus was sailin' right along at the time, so
I piled out and did some more walkin', the other way. At last I
reached your old number, Stevie, and--Hey? Did you speak?"

"Don't call me 'Stevie,'" growled his nephew, rebelliously.

"Beg your pardon. I keep forgettin' that you're almost grown up.
Well, as I was sayin', I got to the house where you used to live,
and 'twas shut tight. Nobody there. Ho! ho! I felt a good deal
like old Beriah Doane must have on his last 'vacation.' You see,
Beriah is one of our South Denboro notorieties; he's famous in his
way. He works and loafs by spells until cranberry pickin' time in
the fall; then he picks steady and earns thirty or forty dollars
all at once. Soon's he's paid off, he starts for Boston on a
'vacation,' an alcoholic one. Well, last fall his married sister
was visitin' him, and she, bein' strong for good Templarism, was
determined he shouldn't vacate in his regular way. So she
telegraphed her husband's brother in Brockton to meet Beriah there,
go with him to Boston, and see that he behaved himself and stayed
sober. Beriah heard of it, and when his train gets as far as
Tremont what does he do but get off quiet and change cars for New
Bedford. He hadn't been there for nine years, but he had pleasant
memories of his last visit. And when he does get to New Bedford,
chucklin' over the way he's befooled his sister and her folks, I'm
blessed if he didn't find that the town had gone no-license, and
every saloon was shut up! Ho! ho! ho! Well, I felt about the way
he did, I guess, when I stood on the steps of your Fifth Avenue
house and realized you'd gone away. I wouldn't have had Abbie see
me there for somethin'. Ho! ho!"

He leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud. Caroline smiled
faintly. Stephen threw down his napkin and sprang to his feet.

"Sis," he cried, "I'm going to my room. By gad! I can't--"

Catching a warning glance from his sister, he did not finish his
sentence, but stood sulkily beside his chair. Captain Elisha
looked at him, then at the girl, and stopped laughing. He folded
his napkin with care, and rose.

"That's about all of it," he said, shortly. "I asked around at two
or three of the neighbors' houses, and the last one I asked knew
where you'd moved and told me how to get here."

When the trio were again in the library, the captain spoke once

"I'm 'fraid I've talked too much," he said, gravely. "I didn't
realize how I was runnin' on. Thought I was home, I guess, with
the fellers of my own age down at the postoffice, instead of bein'
an old countryman, tirin' out you two young city folks with my
yarns. I beg your pardon. Now you mustn't mind me. I see you're
expectin' company or goin' callin' somewheres, so I'll just go to
my bedroom and write Abbie a line. She'll be kind of anxious to
know if I got here safe and sound and found you. Don't worry about
me, I'll be comf'table and busy."

He turned to go. Caroline looked at him in surprise. "We are not
expecting callers," she said. "And certainly we are not going out
to-night. Why should you think such a thing?"

It was her uncle's turn to show surprise.

"Why," he said, with a glance at Stephen, "I see that you're all
dressed up, and so I thought, naturally--"

He paused.

Young Warren grunted contemptuously.

"We dressed for dinner, that is all," said Caroline.

"You--you mean you put these clothes on every night?"


Captain Elisha was plainly very much astonished.

"Well," he observed, slowly. "I--guess I've made another mistake.
Hum! Good night."

"Good night," said Stephen, quickly. Caroline, however, seemed

"Captain Warren," she said, "I thought possibly you might wish to
talk business with my brother and me. We--we understand that you
have come on business connected with father's will. It seems to me
that the sooner we--we--"

"Get it over the better, hey? Well, maybe you're right. It's an
odd business for an old salt like me to be mixed up in, that's a
fact. If it hadn't been so odd, if I hadn't thought there must be
some reason, some partic'lar reason, I--well, I guess I'd have
stayed to home where I belong. You mustn't think," he added,
seriously, "that I don't realize I'm as out of place amongst you
and your rich friends as a live fish in a barrel of sawdust.
That's all right; you needn't trouble to say no. But you must
understand that, realizin' it, I'm not exactly imposin' myself on
you for pleasure or--well, from choice. I'm so built that I can't
shirk when my conscience tells me I shouldn't, that's all. I'm
kind of tired to-night, and I guess you are. To-morrow mornin', if
it's agreeable to all hands, we will have a little business talk.
I'll have to see Lawyer Graves pretty soon, and have a gen'ral look
at your pa's affairs. Then, if everything is all right and I feel
my duty's done, I'll probably go back to the Cape and leave you to
him, or somebody else able to look out for you. Until then I'm
afraid," with a smile which had a trace of bitterness in it; "I'm
afraid you'll have to do the best you can with me. I'll try to be
no more of a nuisance than I can help. Good night."

When the two young people were left alone, Caroline turned to her

"Steve," she said, "I'm afraid you were a little rude. I'm afraid
you hurt his feelings."

The boy stared at her in wonder. "Hurt his feelings!" he exclaimed.
"HIS feelings! Well, by Jove! Caro, you're a wonder! Did you
expect me to throw my arms around his neck? If he had had any
feelings at all, if he was the slightest part of a gentleman, do you
suppose he would come here and disgrace us as he is doing? Who
invited him? Did we? I guess not!"

"But he is father's brother, and father asked him to come."

"No, he didn't. He asked him--heaven knows why--to look out for
our money affairs. That's bad enough; but he didn't ask him to
LIVE with us. He sha'n't! by gad, he sha'n't! YOU may be as sweet
to him as you like, but I'll make it my business to give him the
cold shoulder every chance I get. I'll freeze him out, that's what
I'll do--freeze him out. Why, Caro! be sensible. Think what his
staying here means. Can we take him about with us? Can our
friends meet HIM as--as our uncle? He's got to be made to go.
Hasn't he now? Hasn't he?"

The girl was silent for a moment. Then she covered her face with
her hands. "Oh, yes!" she sobbed. "Oh, yes, he must! he MUST!
WHY did father do it?"


The Warren breakfast hour was nine o'clock. At a quarter to nine
Caroline, entering the library, found Stephen seated by the fire
reading the morning paper.

"Good morning," she said. Then, looking about the room, asked,
"Has--has HE been here?"

Her brother shook his head. "You mean Uncle 'Lish?" he asked,
cheerfully. "No, he hasn't. At least, I haven't seen him and I
haven't made any inquiries. I shall manage to survive if he never
appears. Let sleeping relatives lie, that's my motto."

He laughed at his own joke and turned the page of the paper. The
butler entered.

"Breakfast is served, Miss Caroline," he announced.

"Has Captain Warren come from his room?" asked the young lady.

"No, Miss Caroline. That is, I haven't seen him."

Stephen tossed the paper on the floor and rose.

"I wonder--" he began. Then, with a broad grin, "A sudden thought
strikes me, Sis. He has undoubtedly blown out the gas."

"Steve! How can you!"

"Perfectly simple. Absolutely reasonable. Just what might have
been expected. 'He has gone, but we shall miss him.' Come on,
Caro; I'm hungry. Let the old hayseed sleep. You and I can have a
meal in peace. Heavens! you don't care for another experience like
last night's, do you?"

"Edwards," said Caroline, "you may knock at Captain Warren's door
and tell him breakfast is served."

"Yes," commanded Stephen, "and tell him not to hurry on our account.
Come, Caro, come! You're not pining for his society. Well, wait
then! _I_ won't!"

He marched angrily out of the room. His sister hesitated, her wish
to follow complicated by a feeling of duty to a guest, no matter
how unwelcome. The butler reappeared, looking puzzled.

"He's not there, miss?" he said.

"Not there? Not in his room?"

"No, Miss Caroline. I knocked, and he didn't answer, so I looked
in and he wasn't there. His bed's been slept in, but he's gone."

"Gone? And you haven't seen him?"

"No, miss. I've been up and about since half past seven, and I
can't understand where he could have got to."

The door of the hall opened and shut. Edwards darted from the
library. A moment afterwards Captain Elisha strolled in. He was
wearing his overcoat, and his hat was in his hand.

"Good mornin', Caroline," he hailed, in his big voice. "Surprised
to see me, are you? Ho! ho! So was the Commodore. He couldn't
understand how I got in without ringin'. Well, you see, I'm used
to turnin' out pretty early, and when it got to be most seven
o'clock, I couldn't lay to bed any longer, so I got up, dressed,
and went for a walk. I fixed the door latch so's I could come in
quiet. You haven't waited breakfast for me, I hope."

"No; it is ready now, however."

"Ready now," the captain looked at his watch. "Yes, I should think
so. It's way into the forenoon. You HAVE waited for me, haven't
you? I'm awfully sorry."

"No, we have not waited. Our breakfast hour is nine. Pardon me
for neglecting to tell you that last evening."

"Oh, that's all right. Now you trot right out and eat. I've had

"Had your breakfast?"

"Yes, indeed. When I'm home, Abbie and I usually eat about seven,
so I get sort of sharp-set if I wait after that. I cal'lated you
city folks was late sleepers, and I wouldn't want to make any
trouble, so I found a little eating house down below here a ways
and had a cup of coffee and some bread and butter and mush. Then I
went cruisin' round in Central Park a spell. This IS Central Park
over across here, ain't it?"

"Yes." The girl was too astonished to say more.

"I thought 'twas. I'd been through part of it afore, but 'twas
years ago, and it's such a big place and the paths run so criss-
cross I got sort of mixed up, and it took me longer to get out than
it did to get in. I had the gen'ral points of the compass, and I
guess I could have made a pretty average straight run for home, but
every time I wanted to cut across lots there was a policeman
lookin' at me, so I had to stick to the channel. That's what made
me so late. Now do go and eat your breakfast. I won't feel easy
till I see you start."

Caroline departed, and the captain, after a visit to his own room,
where he left his coat and hat, returned to the library, picked up
the paper which his nephew had dropped, and began reading.

After breakfast came the "business talk." It was a brief one.
Captain Elisha soon discovered that his brother's children knew
very little concerning their father's affairs. They had always
plenty of money, had been indulged in practically every wish, and
had never had to think or plan for themselves. As to the size of
the estate, they knew nothing more than Mr. Graves had told them,
which was that, instead of the several millions which rumor had
credited A. Rodgers Warren with possessing, five hundred thousand
dollars would probably be the extent of their inheritance, and
that, therefore, they must live economically. As a first step in
that direction, they had given up their former home and moved to
the apartment.

"Yes, yes," mused the captain, "I see. Mr. Graves didn't know
about your movin', then? You did it on your own hook, so to

Stephen answered promptly.

"Of course we did," he declared. "Why not?"

"No reason in the world. A good sensible thing to do, I should
say. Didn't anybody advise you where to go?"

"Why should we need advice?" Again it was Stephen who replied.
"We aren't kids. We're old enough to decide some things for
ourselves, I should think."

"Yes. Sartin. That's right. But I didn't know but p'raps some of
your friends might have helped along. This Mrs. Dunn now, she kind
of hinted to me that she'd--well, done what she could to make you

"She has," avowed Caroline, warmly. "Mrs. Dunn and Malcolm have
proved their friendship in a thousand ways. We never can repay
them, Stephen and I, never!"

"No. There's some things you can't ever pay, I know that. Mrs.
Dunn found this nice place for you, did she?"

"Why, yes. She and I found it together."

"So? That was lucky, wa'n't it? Advertised in the newspaper, was
it; or was there a 'To Let' placard up in the window?"

"No, certainly not. Mrs. Dunn knew that we had decided to move,
and she has a cousin who is interested in New York property. She
asked him, and he mentioned this apartment."

"One of his own, was it?"

"I believe so. Why are you so particular? Don't you like it?"

Her tone was sharp. Stephen, who resented his uncle's questions as
impertinent intrusions upon the family affairs, added one of his

"Isn't it as good as those in--what do you call it--South Denboro?"
he asked, maliciously.

Captain Elisha laughed heartily.

"Pretty nigh as good," he said. "I didn't notice any better on the
way to the depot as I drove up. And I doubt if there's many new
ones built since I left. It's a mighty fine lot of rooms, I think.
What's the rent? You'll excuse my askin', things bein' as they

"Twenty-two hundred a year," answered his niece, coldly.

The captain looked at her, whistled, broke off the whistle in the
middle, and did a little mental arithmetic.

"Twenty-two hundred a year!" he repeated. "That's one hundred and
eighty odd a month. Say, that cousin of Mrs. Dunn's must want to
get his investment back. You mean for just these ten rooms?"

Stephen laughed scornfully.

"Our guardian has been counting, Caro," he remarked.

"Yes. Yes, I counted this mornin' when I got up. I was interested,

"Sure! Naturally, of course," sneered the boy. "Did you think the
twenty-two hundred was the rent of the entire building?"

"Well, I didn't know. I--"

"The rent," interrupted Caroline, with dignity, "was twenty-four
hundred, but, thanks to Mrs. Dunn, who explained to her cousin that
we were friends of hers, it was reduced."

"We being in reduced circumstances," observed her brother in supreme
disgust. "Pity the poor orphans! By gad!"

"That was real nice of Mrs. Dunn," declared Captain Elisha, heartily.
"She's pretty well-off herself, I s'pose--hey, Caroline?"

"I presume so."

"Yes, yes. About how much is she wuth, think?"

"I don't know. I never inquired."

"No. Well, down our way," with a chuckle, "we don't have to
inquire. Ask anybody you meet what his next door neighbor's wuth,
and he'll tell you within a hundred, and how he got it, and how
much he owes, and how he gets along with his wife. Ho! ho!
Speakin' of wives, is this Mr. Dunn married?"

He looked at his niece as he asked the question. There was no
reason why Caroline should blush; she knew it, and hated herself
for doing it.

"No," she answered, resentfully, "he is not."

"Um-hm. What's his business?"

"He is connected with a produce exchange house, I believe."

"One of the firm?"

"I don't know. In New York we are not as well posted, or as
curious, concerning our friends' private affairs as your
townspeople seem to be."

"I guess that's so. I imagine New Yorkers are too busy gettin' it
themselves to bother whether their neighbors have got it or not.
Well," he went on, rising, "I guess I've kept you young folks from
your work or--or play, or whatever you was going to do, long enough
for this once. I think I'll go out for a spell. I've got an
errand or two I want to do. What time do you have dinner?"

"We lunch at half past one," answered Caroline.

"We dine at seven."

"Oh, yes, yes! I keep forgettin' that supper's dinner. Well, I
presume likely I'll be back for luncheon. If I ain't, don't wait
for me. I'll be home afore supper--there I go again!--afore
dinner, anyhow. Good-by."

Five minutes later he was at the street corner, inquiring of a
policeman "the handiest way to get to Pine Street." Following the
directions given, he boarded a train at the nearest subway station,
emerged at Wall Street, inquired once more, located the street he
was looking for, and, consulting a card which he took from a big
stained leather pocket-book, walked on, peering at the numbers of
the buildings he passed.

The offices of Sylvester, Kuhn, and Graves, were on the sixteenth
floor of a new and gorgeously appointed sky-scraper. When Captain
Elisha entered the firm's reception room, he was accosted by a
wide-awake and extremely self-possessed office boy.

"Who'd you want to see?" asked the boy, briskly.

The captain removed his hat and wiped his forehead with his

"Hold on a jiffy, Sonny," he panted. "Just give me a minute to
sort of get myself together, as you might say. I rode up in one of
those express elevators of yours, and I kind of feel as if my boots
had got tangled up with my necktie. When that elevator feller cast
off from the cellar, I begun to shut up like a spyglass. Whew!
Say, Son, is Mr. Graves in?"

"No," replied the boy, grinning.

"Hum! Still in the sick bay, is he--hey?"

"He's to home. Got a cold."

"Yup. It's too bad. Mr.--er--Sylvester, is he in?"

"Naw, he ain't. And Mr. Kuhn's busy. Won't one of the clerks do?
What do you want to see the firm about?"

"Well, Son, I had reasons of my own. However, I guess I won't
disturb Mr. Kuhn, if he's busy's you say. Here! you tell him, or
Mr. Sylvester when he comes, that Cap'n Warren, Cap'n Elisha Warren
of South Denboro--better write it down--called and will be back
about half past twelve or thereabouts. Got it, have you? Hum! is
that Elisha? You don't tell me! I've been spellin' it for sixty
years, more or less, and never realized it had such possibilities.
Lend me your pencil. There! you give Mr. Sylvester that and tell
him I'll see him later. So long, Son."

He departed, smiling. The indignant office boy threw the card on
the table.

Captain Elisha strolled down Pine Street, looking about him with
interest. It had been years since he visited this locality, and
the changes were many. Soon, however, he began to recognize
familiar landmarks. He was approaching the water front, and there
were fewer new buildings. When he reached South Street he was
thoroughly at home.

The docks were crowded. The river was alive with small craft of
all kinds. Steamers and schooners were plenty, but the captain
missed the old square-riggers, the clipper ships and barks, such
as he had sailed in as cabin boy, as foremast hand, and, later,
commanded on many seas.

At length, however, he saw four masts towering above the roof of a
freight house. They were not schooner rigged, those masts. The
yards were set square across, and along them were furled royals
and upper topsails. Here, at last, was a craft worth looking at.
Captain Elisha crossed the street, hurried past the covered freight
house, and saw a magnificent great ship lying beside a broad open
wharf. Down the wharf he walked, joyfully, as one who greets an
old friend.

The wharf was practically deserted. An ancient watchman was dozing
in a sort of sentry box, but he did not wake. There was a pile of
foreign-looking crates and boxes at the further end of the pier,
evidently the last bit of cargo waiting to be carted away. The
captain inspected the pile, recognized the goods as Chinese and
Japanese, then read the name on the big ship's stern. She was the
Empress of the Ocean, and her home port was Liverpool.

Captain Elisha, as a free-born Yankee skipper, had an inherited and
cherished contempt for British "lime-juicers," but he could not
help admiring this one. To begin with, her size and tonnage were
enormous. Also, she was four-masted, instead of the usual three,
and her hull and lower spars were of steel instead of wood. A
steel sailing vessel was something of a novelty to the captain, and
he was seized with a desire to go aboard and inspect.

The ladder from ship to wharf was down, of course, and getting on
board was an easy matter. When he reached the deck and looked
about him, the great size of the ship was still more apparent. The
bulwarks were as high as a short man's head. She was decked over
aft, and, as the captain said afterwards, "her cabins had nigh as
many stories as a house." From the roof of the "first story,"
level with the bulwarks, extended a series of bridges, which could
be hoisted or lowered, and by means of which her officers could
walk from stern to bow without descending to the deck. There was a
good-sized engine house forward, beyond the galley and forecastle.
Evidently the work of hoisting anchors and canvas was done by

The captain strolled about, looking her over. The number of
improvements since his seagoing days was astonishing. He was
standing by the wheel, near the companion way, wishing that he
might inspect the officers' quarters, but not liking to do so
without an invitation, when two men emerged from the cabin.

One of the pair was evidently the Japanese steward of the ship.
The other was a tall, clean-cut young fellow, whose general
appearance and lack of sunburn showed quite plainly that he was not
a seafaring man by profession. The steward caught sight of Captain
Elisha, and, walking over, accosted him.

"Want to see skipper, sir?" he asked, in broken English. "He

"No, Doctor," replied the captain, cheerfully. "I don't want to
see him. I've got no business aboard. It's been some time since I
trod the quarter-deck of a square-rigger, and I couldn't resist the
temptation of tryin' how the planks felt under my feet. This is
consider'ble of a clipper you've got here," he added.

"Yes, sir," replied the steward grinning.

"Where you from?" asked Captain Elisha.

"Singapore, sir."

"Cargo all out?"

"Yes, sir."

"Waitin' for another one?"

"Yes, sir. We load for Manila bimeby."

"Manila, hey? Have a good passage across?"

"Yes, sir. She good ship."

"Shouldn't wonder. How d'ye do, sir," to the young man, who was
standing near. "Hope you won't think I'm crowdin' in where I don't
belong. I was just tellin' the doctor here that it had been some
time since I trod a quarter-deck, and I thought I'd see if I'd
forgot the feel."

"Have you?" asked the young man, smiling.

"Guess not. Seems kind of nat'ral. I never handled such a whale
of a craft as this, though. Didn't have many of 'em in my day.
Come over in her, did you?"

"No," with a shake of the head. "No such luck. I'm a land lubber,
just scouting round, that's all. She's a bully vessel, isn't she?"

"Looks so. Tell you better after I've seen what she could do in a
full-sail breeze. All hands ashore, Doctor?"

"Yes, sir," replied the steward.

"Crew paid off and spendin' their money, I s'pose. Well, if it
ain't against orders, I'd kind of like to look around a little
mite. May I?"

The steward merely grinned. His companion answered for him.

"Certainly you may," he said. "I'm a friend of one of the
consignees, and I'd be glad to show you the ship, if you like.
Shall we begin with the cabins?"

Captain Elisha, delighted with the opportunity, expressed his
thanks, and the tour of inspection began. The steward remained on
deck, but the captain and his new acquaintance strolled through the
officers' quarters together.

"Jerushy!" exclaimed the former, as he viewed the main cabin.
"Say, you could pretty nigh have a dance here, couldn't you? A
small one. This reminds me of the cabin aboard the Sea Gull, first
vessel I went mate of--it's so diff'rent. Aboard her we had to
walk sittin' down. There wa'n't room in the cabin for more'n one
to stand up at a time. But she could sail, just the same--and
carry it, too. I've seen her off the Horn with studdin' sails set,
when craft twice her length and tonnage had everything furled above
the tops'l yard. Hi hum! you mustn't mind an old salt runnin' on
this way. I've been out of the pickle tub a good while, but I
cal'late the brine ain't all out of my system."

His guide's eyes snapped.

"I understand," he said, laughing. "I've never been at sea, on a
long voyage, in my life, but I can understand just how you feel.
It's in my blood, I guess. I come of a salt water line. My people
were from Belfast, Maine, and every man of them went to sea."

"Belfast, hey? They turned out some A No.1 sailors in Belfast. I
sailed under a Cap'n Pearson from there once--James Pearson, his
name was."

"He was my great uncle. I was named for him. My name is James
Pearson, also."

"WHAT?" Captain Elisha was hugely delighted. "Mr. Pearson, shake
hands. I want to tell you that your Uncle Jim was a seaman of the
kind you dream about, but seldom meet. I was his second mate three
v'yages. My name's Elisha Warren."

Mr. Pearson shook hands and laughed, good-humoredly.

"Glad to meet you, Captain Warren," he said. "And I'm glad you
knew Uncle Jim. As a youngster, he was my idol. He could spin
yarns that were worth listening to."

"I bet you! He'd seen things wuth yarnin' about. So you ain't a
sailor, hey? Livin' in New York?"

The young man nodded. "Yes," he said. Then, with a dry smile, "If
you call occupying a hall bedroom and eating at a third-rate
boarding-house table living. However, it's my own fault. I've
been a newspaper man since I left college. But I threw up my job
six months ago. Since then I've been free-lancing."

"Have, hey?" The captain was too polite to ask further questions,
but he had not the slightest idea what "free-lancing" might be.
Pearson divined his perplexity and explained.

"I've had a feeling," he said, "that I might write magazine
articles and stories--yes, possibly a novel or two. It's a serious
disease, but the only way to find out whether it's chronic or not
is to experiment. That's what I'm doing now. The thing I'm at
work on may turn out to be a sea story. So I spend some time
around the wharves and aboard the few sailing ships in port,
picking up material."

Captain Elisha patted him on the back.

"Now don't you get discouraged," he said. "I used to have an idea
that novel writin' and picture paintin' was poverty jobs for men
with healthy appetites, but I've changed my mind. I don't know's
you'll believe it, but I've just found out, for a fact, that some
painters get twenty-two thousand dollars for one picture. For ONE,
mind you. And a little mite of a thing, too, that couldn't have
cost scarcely anything to paint. Maybe novels sell for just as
much. _I_ don't know."

His companion laughed heartily. "I'm afraid not, Captain," he
said. "Few, at any rate. I should be satisfied with considerably
less, to begin with. Are you living here in town?"

"Well--we-ll, I don't know. I ain't exactly livin', and I ain't
exactly boardin', but--Say! ain't that the doctor callin' you?"

It was the steward, and there was an anxious ring in his voice.
Pearson excused himself and hurried out of the cabin. Captain
Elisha lingered for a final look about. Then he followed
leisurely, becoming aware, as he reached the open air, of loud
voices in angry dialogue.

Entrances to the Empress of the Ocean's cabins were on the main
deck, and also on the raised half-deck at the stern, near the
wheel, the binnacle and the officers' corned-beef tubs, swinging in
their frames. From this upper deck two flights of steps led down
to the main deck below. At the top of one of these flights stood
young Pearson, cool and alert. Behind him half crouched the
Japanese steward, evidently very much frightened. At the foot of
the steps were grouped three rough looking men, foreigners and
sailors without doubt, and partially intoxicated. The three men
were an ugly lot, and they were all yelling and jabbering together
in a foreign lingo. As the captain emerged from the passage to the
open deck, he heard Pearson reply in the same language.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

Pearson answered without turning his head.

"Drunken sailors," he explained. "Part of the crew here. They've
been uptown, got full, and come back to square a grudge they seem
to have against the steward. I'm telling them they'd better give
up and go ashore, if they know when they're well off."

The three fellows by the ladder's foot were consulting together.
On the wharf were half a dozen loungers, collected by the prospect
of a row.

"If I can hold them off for a few minutes," went on Pearson, "we'll
be all right. The wharf watchman has gone for the police. Here!
drop it! What are you up to?"

One of the sailors had drawn a knife. The other two reached for
their belts behind, evidently intending to follow suit. From the
loafers on the wharf came shouts of encouragement.

"Do the dude up, Pedro! Give him what's comin' to him."

The trio formed for a rush. The steward, with a shrill scream,
fled to the cabin. Pearson did not move; he even smiled. The next
moment he was pushed to one side, and Captain Elisha stood at the
top of the steps.

"Here!" he said, sternly. "What's all this?"

The three sailors, astonished at this unexpected addition to their
enemies forces, hesitated. Pearson laid his hand on the captain's

"Be careful," he said. "They're dangerous."

"Dangerous? Them? I've seen their kind afore. Here, you!"
turning to the three below. "What do you mean by this? Put down
that knife, you lubber! Do you want to be put in irons? Over the
side with you, you swabs! Git!"

He began descending the ladder. Whether the sailors were merely
too surprised to resist, or because they recognized the authority
of the deep sea in Captain Elisha's voice and face is a question.
At any rate, as he descended they backed away.

"Mutiny on board a ship of mine?" roared the captain. "What do you
mean by it? Why, I'll have you tied up and put on bread and water.
Over the side with you! Mutiny on board of ME! Lively! Tumble up

With every order came a stride forward and a correspondingly
backward movement on the part of the three. The performance would
have been ridiculous if Pearson had not feared that it might become
tragic. He was descending the steps to his new acquaintance's aid,
when there rose a chorus of shouts from the wharf.

"The cops! the cops! Look out!"

That was the finishing touch. The next moment the three "mutineers"
were over the side and running as fast as their alcoholic condition
would permit down the wharf.

"Well, by George!" exclaimed Pearson.

Captain Elisha seemed to be coming out of a dream. He stood still,
drew his hand across his forehead, and then began to laugh.

"Well!" he stammered. "Well, I snum! I--I--Mr. Pearson, I wonder
what on earth you must think of me. I declare the sight of that
gang set me back about twenty years. They--they must have thought
I was the new skipper! Did you hear me tell 'em they couldn't
mutiny aboard of me? Ho! ho! Well, I am an old idiot!"

Pearson stuck his fist into the palm of his other hand. "I've got
it!" he cried. "I knew your name was familiar. Why, you're the
mate that handled the mutinous crew aboard Uncle Jim's bark, the
Pacer, off Mauritius, in the typhoon, when he was hurt and in the
cabin. I've heard him tell it a dozen times. Well, this IS a
lucky day for me!"

Captain Elisha was evidently pleased. "So he told you that, did
he?" he began. "That WAS a time and a half, I--"

He was interrupted. Over the rail appeared a blue helmet, and an
instant later a big and very pompous police officer leaped to the
deck. He was followed by the wharf watchman, who looked

"Where's the other one of them?" demanded the policeman. "Oh, it's
you, is it? Well, you're too old to be gettin' drunk and fightin'.
Come along now, peaceable, and let's have no words about it."

He advanced and laid a hand on the captain's arm.

"You're under arrest," he announced. "Will you come along quiet?"

"I'm under arrest?" repeated Captain Elisha. "Under--My soul and
body! Why, I ain't done anything."

"Yes, I know. Nobody's done nothin'. Come on, or shall I--Hello,
Mr. Pearson, sir! How d'you do?"

Pearson had stepped forward.

"Slattery," he said, "you've made a mistake. Let me tell you about
it." He drew the officer aside and whispered in his ear. After a
rather lengthy conversation, the guardian of the peace turned to
the watchman.

"What d'you mean by tellin' all them lies?" he demanded.

"Lies?" repeated the astonished watchman. "I never told no lies."

"You did. You said this gentleman," indicating the nervous and
apprehensive Captain Elisha, "was fightin' and murderin'. I ask
your pardon, sir. 'Twas this bloke's foolishness. G'wan ashore!
You make me sick. Good day, Mr. Pearson."

He departed, driving his new victim before him and tongue-lashing
him all the way. The captain drew a long breath.

"Say, Mr. Pearson," he declared, "a minute or so ago you said this
was a lucky day for you. I cal'late it's a luckier one for me. If
it hadn't been for you I'd been took up. Yes, sir, took up and
carted off to the lockup. Whew! that would have looked well in the
papers, wouldn't it? And my niece and nephew . . . Jerushy! I'm
mightily obliged to you. How did you handle that policeman so

Pearson laughed. "Oh," he replied, "a newspaper training and
acquaintance has its advantages. Slattery knows me, and I know

"Well, I thank you, I do so."

"You needn't. I wouldn't have missed meeting you and seeing you
handle those fellows for a good deal. And besides, you're not
going to escape so easy. You must lunch with me."

The captain started, hastily pulled out his watch, and looked at

"Quarter to one!" he cried. "And I said I'd be back at that
lawyer's office at half-past twelve. No, no, Mr. Pearson, I can't
go to lunch with you, but I do wish you'd come and see me some
time. My address for--for a spell, anyhow--is Central Park West,"
giving the number, "and the name is Warren, same as mine. Will you
come some evenin'? I'd be tickled to death to see you."

The young man was evidently delighted.

"Will I?" he exclaimed. "Indeed I will. I warn you, Captain
Warren, that I shall probably keep you busy spinning sea yarns."

"Nothin' I like better, though I'm afraid my yarns'll be pretty
dull alongside of your Uncle Jim's."

"I'll risk it. Good-by and good luck. I shall see you very soon."

"That's right; do. So long."


The boy, Captain Elisha's acquaintance of the morning, was out,
regaling himself with crullers and milk at a pushcart on Broad
Street, when the captain returned to the officers of Sylvester,
Kuhn and Graves. The clerk who had taken his place was very

"Captain Warren," he said, "Mr. Sylvester was sorry to miss you.
He waited until half past twelve and left word for us to telephone
if you came. Our Mr. Graves is still ill, and the matter of your
brother's estate must be discussed without further delay. Please
sit down and I will telephone."

The captain seated himself on the leather-covered bench, and the
clerk entered the inner office. He returned, a few moments later,
to say:

"Mr. Sylvester is at the Central Club. He wished me to ask if you
could conveniently join him there."

Captain Elisha pondered. "Why, yes," he replied, slowly, "I s'pose
I could. I don't know why I couldn't. Where is this--er--club of

"On Fifth Avenue, near Fifty-second Street. I'll send one of our
boys with you if you like."

"No, no! I can pilot myself, I guess. I ain't so old I can't ask
my way. Though--" with a reminiscent chuckle--"if the folks I ask
are all sufferin' from that 'Ugh' disease, I sha'n't make much

"What disease?" asked the puzzled clerk.

"Oh, nothin'. I was just thinkin' out loud, that's all. Mr.
Sylvester wants to see me right off, does he?"

"Yes, he said he would wait if I 'phoned him you were coming."

"Um-hm. Well, you can tell him I've left the dock, bound in his
direction. Say, that young chap that was here when I called the
fust time--studyin' to be a lawyer, is he?"

"Who? Tim? No, indeed. He's only the office boy. Why did you

"Oh, I was just wonderin'. I had a notion he might be in trainin'
for a judgeship, he was so high and mighty. Ho! ho! He's got
talent, that boy has. Nobody but a born genius could have made as
many mistakes in one name as he did when he undertook to spell
Elisha. Well, sir, I'm much obliged to you. Good day."

The Central Club is a ponderous institution occupying a becomingly
gorgeous building on the Avenue. The captain found his way to its
door without much trouble. A brass-buttoned attendant answered his
ring and superciliously inquired his business. Captain Elisha, not
being greatly in awe of either buttons or brief authority, calmly
hailed the attendant as "Gen'ral" and informed him that he was
there to see Mr. Sylvester, if the latter was "on deck anywheres."

"Tell him it's Cap'n Warren, Major," he added cheerfully; "he's
expectin' me."

The attendant brusquely ushered the visitor into a leather-
upholstered reception room and left him. The captain amused
himself by looking at the prints and framed letters and autographs
on the walls. Then a round, red, pleasant-faced man entered.

"Pardon me," he said, "is this Captain Warren?"

"Yes, sir," was the reply. "That's my name. This is Mr. Sylvester,
ain't it? Glad to know you, sir."

"Thanks. Sorry to have made you travel way up here, Captain. I
waited until twelve-thirty, but as you didn't come then, I gave you
up. Hope I haven't inconvenienced you."

"No, no. Not a mite. Might just as well be here as anywhere.
Don't think another thing about it."

"Have you lunched, Captain Warren?"

"No, come to think of it, I ain't. I've been kind of busy this
forenoon, and a little thing like dinner--luncheon, I mean--slipped
my mind. Though 'tain't often I have those slips, I'm free to say.
Ho! ho! Abbie--she's my second cousin, my housekeeper--says I'm an
unsartin critter, but there's two things about me she can always
count on, one's that my clothes have always got a button loose
somewheres, and t'other's my appetite."

He laughed, and Sylvester laughed with him.

"Well," observed the lawyer, "I'm not sure that I couldn't qualify
on both of those counts. At any rate I'm sure of my appetite. I
had a lunch engagement with an acquaintance of mine, but he hasn't
appeared, so you must take his place. We'll lunch together."

"Well, now, I'd like to fust-rate, and it's real kind of you, Mr.
Sylvester; but I don't know's I'd better. Your friend may heave in
sight, after all, and I'd be in the way."

"Not a bit of it. And I said 'acquaintance,' not 'friend.' Of
course you will! You must. We can talk business while we're
eating, if you like."

"All right. And I'm ever so much obliged to you. Is there an
eatin' house near here?"

"Oh, we'll eat right here at the club. Come."

He led the way, and Captain Elisha followed. The Central Club has
a large, exclusive, and wealthy membership, and its quarters
correspond. The captain gazed about him at the marble floors and
pillars, the paintings and busts, with interest. After checking
his hat and coat, as they entered the elevator he asked a question.

"Which floor is your club on, Mr. Sylvester?" he asked.

"Floor? Why, the dining room is on the fourth, if that's what you

"No, I meant how many rooms do you rent?"

"We occupy the entire building. It is our own, and a comparatively
new one. We built it three years ago."

"You mean this whole shebang is just one CLUB?"


"Hum! I see. Well, I--"

"What were you going to say?"

"Nothin'. I was wonderin' what fool thing I'd ask next. I'm more
used to lodge rooms than I am to clubs, I guess. I'd like to take
home a picture of this place to Theophilus Kenney. Theoph's been
raisin' hob because the Odd Fellows built on to their buildin'. He
said one room was enough for any society. 'Twould be, if we was
all his kind of society. Theoph's so small he could keep house in
a closet. He's always hollerin' in meetin' about his soul. I
asked the minister if it didn't seem ridic'lous for Kenney to make
such a big noise over such a little thing. This where we get off?"

The dining room was a large and ornate apartment. Captain Elisha,
when he first entered it, seemed about to ask another question, but
choked it off and remained silent. Sylvester chose a table in a
retired corner, and they sat down.

"Now, Captain Warren," said the host, "what will you eat?"

Captain Elisha shook his head.

"You do the orderin'," he replied dryly; "I'll just set and be
thankful, like the hen that found the china doorknob. Anything
that suits you will do me, I guess."

The lawyer, who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his companion,
gave his orders, and the waiter brought first a bit of caviar on
toast. If Sylvester expected this delicacy to produce astonished
comments, he was disappointed.

"Well, well!" exclaimed Captain Elisha. "I declare, you take me
back a long ways, Mr. Sylvester. Caviar! Well, well! Why, I
haven't ate this since I used to go to Cronstadt. At the American
consul's house there we had it often enough. Has a kind of homey
taste even yet. That consul was a good feller. He and I were
great friends.

"I met him a long spell after that, when I was down in Mexico," he
went on. "He'd made money and was down on a vacation. My ship was
at Acapulco, and he and I used to go gunnin' together, after wild
geese and such. Ho! ho! I remember there was a big, pompous
critter of an Englishman there. Mind you, I'm not talkin' against
the English. Some of the best men I ever met were English, and
I've stood back to back with a British mate on a Genoa wharf when
half of Italy was hoppin' around makin' proclamations that they was
goin' to swallow us alive. And, somehow or 'nother, they didn't.
Took with prophetic indigestion, maybe.

"However, this Englishman at Acapulco was diff'rent. He was so
swelled with importance that his back hollered in like Cape Cod Bay
on the map. His front bent out to correspond, though, so I
cal'late he averaged up all right. Well, he heard about what a
good--that I was pretty lucky when it come to shootin' wild geese,
and I'm blessed if he didn't send me orders to get him one for a
dinner he was goin' to give. Didn't ask--ORDERED me to do it, you
understand. And him nothin' but a consignee, with no more control
over me than the average female Sunday-school teacher has over a
class of boys. Not so much, because she's supposed to have
official authority, and he wa'n't. AND he didn't invite me to
the dinner.

"Well, the next time my friend, the ex-consul, and I went out
gunnin', I told him of the Englishman's 'orders.' He was mad.
'What are you goin' to do about it?' he asks. 'Don't know yet,'
says I, 'we'll see.' By and by we come in sight of one of them
long-legged cranes, big birds you know, standin' fishin' at the
edge of some reeds. I up with my gun and shot it. The consul chap
looked at me as if I was crazy. 'What in the world did you kill
that fish-basket on stilts for?' he says. 'Son,' says I, 'your
eyesight is bad. That's a British-American goose. Chop off about
three feet of neck and a couple of fathom of hind legs and pick and
clean what's left, and I shouldn't wonder if 'twould make a good
dinner for a mutual friend of ours--good ENOUGH, anyhow.' Well,
sir! that ex-consul set plump down in the mud and laughed and
laughed. Ho, ho! Oh, dear me!"

"Did you send it to the Englishman?" asked Sylvester.

"Oh, yes, I sent it. And, after a good while and in a roundabout
way, I heard that the whole dinner party vowed 'twas the best wild
goose they ever ate. So I ain't sure just who the joke was on.
However, I'm satisfied with my end. Well, there! I guess you must
think I'm pretty talky on short acquaintance, Mr. Sylvester.
You'll have to excuse me; that caviar set me to thinkin' about old

His host was shaking all over. "Go ahead, Captain," he cried.
"Got any more as good as that?"

But Captain Elisha merely smiled and shook his head.

"Don't get me started on Mexico," he observed. "I'm liable to yarn
all the rest of the afternoon. Let's see, we was goin' to talk
over my brother's business a little mite, wa'n't we?"

"Why, yes, we should. Now, Captain Warren, just how much do you
know about your late brother's affairs?"

"Except what Mr. Graves told me, nothin' of importance. And, afore
we go any further, let me ask a question. Do YOU know why 'Bije
made me his executor and guardian and all the rest of it?"

"I do not. Graves drew his will, and so, of course, we knew of
your existence and your appointment. Your brother forbade our
mentioning it, but we did not know, until after his death, that his
own children were unaware they had an uncle. It seems strange,
doesn't it?"

"It does to me; SO strange that I can't see two lengths ahead. I
cal'late Mr. Graves told you how I felt about it?"

"Yes. That is, he said you were very much surprised."

"That's puttin' it mild enough. And did he tell you that 'Bije and
I hadn't seen each other, or even written, in eighteen years?"


"Um-hm. Well, when you consider THAT, can you wonder I was set all
aback? And the more I think of it, the foggier it gets. Why, Mr.
Sylvester, it's one of them situations that are impossible, that
you can prove fifty ways CAN'T happen. And yet, it has--it
sartinly has. Now tell me: Are you, or your firm, well acquainted
with my brother's affairs?"

"Not well, no. The late Mr. Warren was a close-mouthed man, rather
secretive, in fact."

"Humph! that bein' one of the p'ints where he was different from
his nighest relation, hey?"

"I'm not so sure. Have you questioned the children?"

"Caroline and Steve? Yes, I've questioned 'em more than they think
I have, maybe. And they know--well, leavin' out about the price of
oil paintin's and the way to dress and that it's more or less of a
disgrace to economize on twenty thousand a year, their worldly
knowledge ain't too extensive."

"Do you like them?"

"I guess so. Just now ain't the fairest time to judge 'em. You
see they're sufferin' from the joyful shock of their country
relation droppin' in, and--"

He paused and rubbed his chin. His lips were smiling, but his eyes
were not. Sylvester noted their expression, and guessed many

"They haven't been disagreeable, I hope?" he asked.

"No-o. No, I wouldn't want to say that. They're young and--and,
well, I ain't the kind they've been used to. Caroline's a nice
girl. She is, sure. All she needs is to grow a little older and
have the right kind of advice and--and friends."

"How about the boy?" Mr. Sylvester had met young Warren, and his
eyes twinkled as he spoke.

"Steve? Well," there was an answering twinkle in Captain Elisha's
eye; "well, Steve needs to grow, too; though I wouldn't presume to
tell him so. When a feller's undertakin' to give advice to one of
the seven wise men, he has to be diplomatic, as you might say."

The lawyer put back his head and laughed uproariously.

"Ha! ha!" he crowed. "That's good! Then, from your questioning of
the children, you've learned--?"

"Not such an awful lot. I think I've learned that--hum! that a
good guardian might be a handy thing to have in the house. A
reg'lar legal guardian, I mean. Otherwise--"


"Otherwise there might be too many disinterested volunteer
substitutes for the job. Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it."

"Have you made up your mind to be that guardian?"

"Not yet. I haven't made up my mind to anything yet. Now, Mr.
Sylvester, while we're waitin' for what comes next--you've ordered
enough grub to victual a ship--s'pose you just run over what your
firm knows about 'Bije. That is, if I ain't askin' too much."

"Not at all. That's what I'm here for. You have a right to know.
But I warn you my information isn't worth much."

He went on, briefly and with the conciseness of the legal mind, to
tell of A. Rodgers Warren, his business and his estate. He had
been a broker with a seat on the Stock Exchange.

"That seat is worth consider'ble, ain't it?" interrupted the

"Between eighty and one hundred thousand dollars."

"Yup. Well, it reminds me of a picture I saw once in one of the
comic papers. An old feller from the backwoods somewheres--good
deal like me, he was, and just about as green--was pictured
standin' along with his city nephew in the gallery of the Exchange.
And the nephew says, 'Uncle,' says he, 'do you realize that a seat
down there's wuth seventy-five thousand dollars?' 'Gosh!' says the
old man, 'no wonder most of 'em are standin' up.' Ho! ho! Is that
seat of 'Bije's part of the five hundred thousand you figger he's

"Yes, in a way it is. To be truthful, Captain Warren, we're not
sure as to the amount of your brother's tangible assets. Graves
made a hurried examination of the stocks, bonds, and memoranda, and
estimated the total, that's all."

"I see. Well, heave ahead."

The lawyer went on. The dead broker's office had been on Broad
Street. A small office, with but two clerks. One of the clerks
was retained, and the office, having been leased for a year by its
former tenant, was still open pending the settlement of the estate.
A. Rodgers Warren personally was a man who looked older than he
really was, a good liver, and popular among his companions.

"What sort of fellers were his companions?" asked Captain Elisha.

"You mean his friends in society, or his companions down town in
Wall Street?"

"The Wall Street ones. I guess I can find out something about the
society ones. Anyhow, I can try. These Wall Streeters that 'Bije
chummed with--a quiet lot, was they?"

Sylvester hesitated. "Why--why--not particularly so," he admitted.
"Nothing crooked about them, of course. You see, a stock-broker's
life is a nerve-racking, rather exciting one, and--"

"And 'Bije and his chums were excited, too, hey? All right, you
needn't go any further. He was a good husband while his wife
lived, wa'n't he?"

"Yes. Frankly, Captain Warren, so far as I know, your brother's
personal habits were good. There was nothing against his

"I'm mighty glad to hear it. Mighty glad. Is there anything else
you can tell me?"

"No. Our next move, provided you decide to accept the trust, the
executorship, and the rest, is to get together--you and Graves, if
he is well enough; you and I if he is not--and begin a careful
examination of the stocks, bonds, assets, and debts of the estate.
This must be done first of all."

"Graves hinted there wa'n't any debts, to amount to anything."

"So far as we can see, there are none, except a few trifling

"Yes, yes. Hum!" Captain Elisha put down his coffee spoon and
seemed to be thinking. He shook his head.

"You appear to be puzzled about something," observed the lawyer,
who was watching him intently.

"I am. I was puzzled afore I left home, and I'm just as puzzled

"What puzzles you? if I may ask."

"Everything. And, if you'll excuse my sayin' so, Mr. Sylvester, I
guess it puzzles you, too."

He returned his host's look. The latter pushed back his chair,
preparatory to rising.

"It is all so perfectly simple, on the face of it, Captain Warren,"
he said. "Your brother realized that he must die, that his
children and their money must be taken care of; you were his
nearest relative; his trust in your honesty and judgment caused him
to overlook the estrangement between you. That's the case, isn't

"Yes. That's the case, on the face of it, as you say. But you've
forgot to mention one item."

"What's that?"

"'Bije himself. You knew him pretty well, I can see that. So did
I. And I guess that's why we're both puzzled."

Captain Elisha folded his napkin with care and stood up. Sylvester
rose, also.

"Come downstairs," he said. "We can enjoy our cigars more
comfortably there, and go on with our talk. That is, unless you're
in a great hurry."

"No, I ain't in any special hurry. So I get up to Caroline's in
season for supper--er, dinner, I mean--I don't care. But I don't
want to keep you. You're a busy man."

"This is business. This way, Captain."

The big lounging room of the club, on the first floor, Fifth Avenue
side, was almost empty when they entered it. The lawyer drew two
big chairs near the open fire, rang the bell, and ordered cigars.
After the cigars were lighted and the fragrant clouds of tobacco
smoke were rising, he reopened the conversation. And now, in an
easy, diplomatic way, he took his turn at questioning.

It was pretty thorough pumping, managed with the skill of an
experienced cross-examiner. Captain Elisha, without realizing that
he was doing so, told of his boyhood, his life at sea, his home at
South Denboro, his position in the village, his work as selectman,
as member of the school committee, and as director in the bank.
The tone of the questioner expressed nothing--he was too well
trained for that--but every item of information was tabulated and

The tall mahogany-cased clock struck three, then four. The lawyer
finished his cigar and lit another. He offered a fresh one to his
guest, but the offer was declined.

"No, thank you," observed the captain. "I've been yarnin' away so
fast that my breath's been too busy to keep this one goin'.
There's consider'ble left yet. This is a better smoke than I'm
used to gettin' at the store down home. I tell Ryder--he's our
storekeeper and postmaster--that he must buy his cigars on the reel
and cut 'em off with the scissors. When the gang of us all got a-
goin' mail times, it smells like a rope-walk burnin' down. Ho! ho!
It does, for a fact. Yet I kind of enjoy one of his five-centers,
after all. You can get used to most anything. Maybe it's the home
flavor or the society. P'raps they'd taste better still if they
was made of seaweed. I'll trouble you for a match, Mr. Sylvester.
Two of 'em, if you don't mind."

He whittled one match to a point with his pocket knife, impaled the
cigar stump upon it, and relit with the other.

Meanwhile the room had been filling up. Around each of the big
windows overlooking the Avenue were gathered groups of men, young
and old, smoking, chatting, and gazing idly out. Captain Elisha
regarded them curiously.

"This ain't a holiday, is it?" he asked, after a while.

"No. Why?"

"I was just wonderin' if all those fellers hadn't any work to do,
that's all."

"Who? That crowd?" The lawyer laughed. "Oh, they're doing their
regular stunt. You'll find most of them here every afternoon about
this time."

"You don't say. Pay 'em wages for it, do you?"

"Not that I know of. Some of them are brokers, who come up after
the Exchange closes. Others are business men, active or retired.
Some don't have any business--except what they're doing now."

"I want to know! Humph! They remind me of the gang in the
billiard room back home. The billiard-roomers--the chronic ones--
don't have any business, either, except to keep the dust from
collectin' on the chairs. That and talkin' about hard times.
These chaps don't seem to be sufferin' from hard times, much."

"No. Most of the younger set have rich fathers or have inherited

"I see. They let the old man do the worryin'. That's philosophy,
anyhow. What are they so interested in outside? Parade goin' by?"

"No. I imagine an unusually pretty girl passed just then."

"Is that so? Well, well! Say, Mr. Sylvester, the longer I stay in
New York the more I see that the main difference between it and
South Denboro is size. The billiard-room gang acts just the same
way when the downstairs school teacher goes past. Hello!"

"What is it?"

"That young chap by the mizzen window looks sort of familiar to me.
The one that stood up to shake a day-day to whoever was passin'.
Hum! He's made a hit, ain't he? I expect some unprotected
female's heart broke at that signal. I cal'late I know him."

"Who? Which one? Oh, that's young Corcoran Dunn. He is a lady-
killer, in his own estimation. How d'ye do, Dunn."

The young man turning grinning from the window, caught a glimpse of
the lawyer as the latter rose to identify him. He strolled over to
the fire.

"Hello, Sylvester," he hailed, carelessly. "That was a peach. You
should have seen her. What? Why, it's the Admiral!"

"How d'ye do, Mr. Dunn," said Captain Elisha.

"Have you two met before?" asked Sylvester in astonishment.

"Yes. I had the pleasure of assisting in the welcoming salute when
our seafarin' friend come aboard. How was that, Captain? Some
nautical class to that remark?"

"Yup. You done fust rate, considerin' how recent you shipped."

"Thanks. Overwhelmed, I'm sure." Then, with a look of languid
amusement at the pair, "What is this--a meeting of the Board of
Naval Affairs? Have you bought a yacht, Sylvester?"

"No." The lawyer's tone was sharp.

"Humph! Well, take my advice and don't. Yachts are all right, to
have a good time on, but they cost like the devil to keep up. An
auto is bad enough. By the way, Sylvester, did you hear about my
running over the Irishman this morning?"

"Running over?" repeated the captain, aghast. "You didn't run over
nobody, I hope."

"Well, I came devilish near it. Ha! ha! You see, the old tarrier
was crossing Saint Nicholas Avenue, with a big market basket full
of provisions--the family dinner, I suppose. By Jove, the
household appetites must be good ones. It was slippery as the
mischief, I was running the car, and I tried to go between the
fellow and the curb. It would have been a decent bit of steering
if I'd made it. But--ha! ha!--by Jove, you know, I didn't. I
skidded. The man himself managed to hop out of the way, but his
foot slipped, and down he went. Most ridiculous thing you ever
saw. And the street! 'Pon my word it was paved with eatables."

Sylvester, plainly annoyed, did not reply. But Captain Elisha's
concern was evident.

"The poor critter!" he exclaimed. "What did you do?"

"The last I saw of him he was sitting in the mud, looking at the
upset. I didn't linger. Peters took the wheel, and we beat it.
Lucky the cop didn't spot the license number. Might have cost me
fifty. They've had me up for speeding twice before. What are you
and the Admiral discussing, Sylvester?"

"We were discussing a business matter," answered the lawyer, with
significant emphasis.

"Business? Why, sure! I forgot that you were Graves's partner.
Settling the family affairs, hey? Well, I won't butt in. Ta, ta!
See you later, Captain. You must go for a spin in that car of
mine. I'll call for you some day. I'll show you something they
don't do on Cape Cod. Regards to Caro and Steve."

He moved off, feeling that his invitation would have met with his
mother's approval. She had announced that the country uncle was to
be "cultivated."

Captain Elisha's cigar had gone out. He did not attempt to relight

"Whew!" he whistled. "Well, when I go for a 'spin,' as he calls
it, with HIM, I cal'late my head'll be spinnin' so I won't be
responsible for my actions. Whew!"

Sylvester looked curiously at him.

"So you met him before?" he asked.

"Yes. He was at the rooms when I fust landed. Or his mother was
there then. He came a little later with Caroline and Stephen."

"I see."

"Yes. Know him and his ma pretty well, do you?"

"Slightly. I've met them, at mutual acquaintances' homes and about

"Pretty well fixed, I s'pose, ain't they?"

"I presume so. I don't know."

"Um. He's a sociable young feller, ain't he? Don't stand on any
ceremony, hey? Caro and Steve think a lot of him and his mother."

"Yes. Graves has told me the Dunns were very intimate with the
Warrens. In fact, just before your brother's death, I remember
hearing a rumor that the two families might be even closer

"You mean--er--Caroline and--er--him?"

"There was such a rumor. Probably nothing in it. There is no
engagement, I am very sure."

"Yes, yes, I see. Well, Mr. Sylvester, I must be trottin' on.
I'll think the whole business over for another day or so and then
give you my decision, one way or the other."

"You can't give it now?"

"No-o. I guess I'd better not. However, I think--"


"Well, I think I may take the job. Take it on trial, anyhow."

"Good! I'm glad of it."

"You ARE?"

"I certainly am. And I'm very glad indeed to have made your
acquaintance, Captain Warren. Good afternoon. I shall hope to see
you again soon."

Captain Elisha left the Central Club in a surprised frame of mind.
What surprised him was that a man of such thorough city training
and habits as the senior partner of the law firm should express
pleasure at the idea of his accepting the charge of A. Rodgers
Warren's heirs and estate. Mr. Graves had shown no such feeling.

If he had heard Sylvester's report to Kuhn, at the office next day,
he might have been even more surprised and pleased.

"He's a brick, Kuhn," declared the senior partner. "A countryman,
of course, but a keen, able, honest man, and, I think, a mighty
good judge of character. If I was as sure of his ability to judge
investments and financial affairs, I should be certain the Warren
children couldn't be in better hands. And no doubt we can help him
when it comes to that. He'll probably handle the girl and boy in
his own way, and his outside greenness may jar them a little. But
it'll do them good to be jarred at their age. He's all right, and
I hope he accepts the whole trust."

"Well," exclaimed Mr. Kuhn; "you surprise me. Graves seemed to be--"

"Graves suffers from the absolute lack of a sense of humor. His
path through life is about three feet wide and bordered with rock-
ribbed conventionality. If a man has a joke in his system, Graves
doesn't understand it and is suspicious. I tell, you, Kuhn,
there's more honest common sense and ability in the right hand of
this Down-East salt than there ever was in Rodgers Warren's whole


During the next day Caroline Warren and her brother saw little of
their uncle. Not that they complained of this or sought his
society. The policy of avoidance and what Stephen called "freezing
out" had begun, and the young people kept to themselves as much as
possible. At breakfast Caroline was coldly polite, and her brother
cold, although his politeness was not overdone. However, Captain
Elisha did not seem to notice. He was preoccupied, said but
little, and spent the forenoon in writing a second letter to Miss
Abigail. In it he told of his experience on board the Empress of
the Ocean and of the luncheon at the Central Club. But he said
nothing concerning his nephew and niece further than the statement
that he was still getting acquainted, and that Caroline was a real
nice looking girl.

"I suppose you wonder what I've decided about taking the
guardianship," he added, just at the close. "Well, Abbie, I'm
about in the position of Luther Sylvester when he fell off the dock
at Orham. The tide was out, and he went into the soft mud, all
under. When the folks who saw him tumble got to the edge and
looked over, they saw a round, black thing sticking out of the
mire, and, judging 'twas Lute's head, they asked him how he felt.
'I don't know yet,' sputters Lute, 'whether I'm drowned or
smothered, but I'm somewheres betwixt and between.' That's me,
Abbie, on that guardian business. I'm still betwixt and between.
But before this day's over I'll be drowned or smothered, and I'll
let you know which next time I write."

After lunch he took a stroll in the Park and passed up and down the
paths, thinking, thinking. Returning, he found that Caroline and
Stephen had gone for an auto ride with the Dunns and would not be
home for dinner. So he ate that meal in solitary state, waited
upon by Edwards.

That evening, as he sat smoking in the library, the butler appeared
to announce a caller.

"Someone to see you, sir," said Edwards. "Here's his card, sir."

"Eh? Someone to see ME? Guess you've made a mistake, haven't you,
Commodore? I don't know anybody who'd be likely to come visitin'
me here in New York. Why, yes! Well, I declare! Tell him to walk
right in. Mr. Pearson, I'm glad to see you. This is real

The caller was young Pearson, the captain's acquaintance of the
previous forenoon. They shook hands heartily.

"Perhaps you didn't think I should accept that invitation of yours,
Captain Warren," observed Pearson. "I told you I meant it when I
said yes. And calling within thirty-six hours is pretty good
proof, isn't it?"

"Suits me fust-rate. I'm mighty glad you came. Set right down.
Lonesome at the boardin' house, was it?"

Pearson made a grimace. "Lonesome!" he repeated. "Ugh! Let's
talk of something else. Were you in time for your appointment
yesterday noon?"

"Why, yes; I was and I wasn't. Say, won't you have a cigar?
That's right. And I s'pose, bein' as this is New York, I'd ought
to ask you to take somethin' to lay the dust, hey? I ain't made
any inquiries myself, but I shouldn't wonder if the Commodore--the
feller that let you in--could find somethin' in the spare room
closet or somewheres, if I ask him."

The young man laughed. "If you mean a drink," he said, "I don't
care for it, thank you."

"What? You ain't a teetotaler, are you?"

"No, not exactly. But--"

"But you can get along without it, hey? So can I; generally do,
fur's that goes. But I'M from South Denboro. I thought here in
New York--"

"Oh, there are many people, even here in New York, who are not
convinced that alcohol is a food."

"You don't tell me! Well, I'm livin' and learnin' every day.
Judgin' from stories and the yarns in the Boston newspapers, folks
up our way have the idea that this town is a sort of annex to the
bad place. All right, then we won't trouble the Commodore. I
notice you're lookin' over my quarters. What do you think of 'em?"

Pearson had, in spite of himself, been glancing about the room.
Its luxury and the evident signs of taste and wealth surprised him

"Astonish you to find me livin' in a place like this, hey?"

"Why, why, yes, it does, somewhat. I didn't realize you were such
an aristocrat, Captain Warren. If I had, I might have been a
little more careful of my dress in making my first call."

"Dress? Oh, you mean you'd have put on your Sunday clothes. Well,
I'm glad you didn't. You see, _I_ haven't got on my regimentals,
and if you'd been on dress parade I might have felt bashful. Ho,
ho! I don't wonder you are surprised. This is a pretty swell
neighborhood, ain't it?"

"Yes, it is."

"These--er--apartments, now. 'Bout as good as any in town, are

"Pretty nearly. There are few better--much better."

"I thought so. You wouldn't call livin' in 'em economizin' to any
consider'ble extent, would you?"

"No," with a laugh; "no, _I_ shouldn't, but my ideas of economy
are--well, different. They have to be. Are you ecomomizing,

Captain Elisha laughed and rubbed his knee.

"No," he chuckled, "_I_ ain't, but my nephew and niece are. These
are their rooms."

"Oh, you're visiting?"

"No, I don't know's you'd call it visitin'. I don't know what you
would call it. I'm here, that's about all you can say."

He paused and remained silent. His friend was silent, also, not
knowing exactly what remark to make.

"How's the novel comin' on?" asked the captain, a minute later.

"Oh, slowly. I'm not at all sure it will ever be finished. I get
discouraged sometimes."

"No use in doin' that. What sort of a yarn is it goin' to be?
Give me a gen'ral idea of the course you're tryin' to steer. That
is, if it ain't a secret."

"It isn't. But there's mighty little worth telling. When I began
I thought I had a good scheme, but it seems pretty weak and dish-
watery now."

"Most things do while their bein' done, if you really care about
doin' 'em well. Heave ahead! You said 'twas a sea yarn, and I'm
a sort of specialist when it comes to salt water. Maybe I might
prescribe just the right tonic, though 'tain't very likely."

Pearson began to outline the plot of his novel, speaking slowly at
first, but becoming more interested as he continued. Captain
Elisha listened meditatively, puffing solemnly at his cigar, and
interrupting but seldom.

"I think that's a pretty good idea," he observed, at length. "Yes,
sir, that sounds promisin', to me. This cap'n of yours now, he's
a good feller. Don't get him too good, though; that wouldn't be
natural. And don't get him too bad, neither. I know it's the
fashion, judgin' by the sea yarns I've read lately, to have a
Yankee skipper sort of a cross between a prize fighter and a
murderer. Fust day out of port he begins by pickin' out the most
sickly fo'mast hand aboard, mashes him up, and then takes the next
invalid. I got a book about that kind of a skipper out of our
library down home a spell ago, and the librarian said 'twas awful
popular. A strong story, she said, and true to life. Well, 'twas
strong--you could pretty nigh smell it--but as for bein' true to
life, I had my doubts. I've been to sea, command of a vessel, for
a good many years, and sometimes I'd go weeks, whole weeks, without
jumpin' up and down on a single sailor. Fact! Got my exercise
other ways, I presume likely.

"I tell you," he went on, "the main trouble with that tale of
yours, as I see it, is that you're talkin' about things you ain't
ever seen. Now there's plenty you have seen, I wouldn't wonder.
Let's see, you was born in Belfast, you said. Live there long, did

"Yes, until I went away to school."

"Your father, he went to sea, did he?"

"Yes. But his ship was lost, with all hands, when I was a baby."

"But your Uncle Jim wa'n't lost. You remember him well; you said
so. Tell me something you remember."

Before the young man was aware of it, he was telling of his Uncle
Jim, of the latter's return from voyages, of his own home life, of
his mother, and of the village where he spent his boyhood. Then,
led on by the captain's questioning, he continued with his years at
college, his experiences as reporter and city editor. Without
being conscious that he was doing so, he gave his host a pretty
full sketch of himself, his story, and his ambitions.

"Mr. Pearson," said Captain Elisha, earnestly, "don't you worry
about that yarn of yours. If you'll take the advice of an old
feller who knows absolutely nothin' about such things, keep on
rememberin' about your Uncle Jim. He was a man, every inch of him,
and a seaman, too. Put lots of him into this hero of yours, and
you won't go fur wrong. And when it comes to handlin' a ship, why--
well, if you WANT to come to me, I'll try and help you out best I

Pearson was delighted.

"You WILL?" he cried. "Splendid! It's mighty good of you. May I
spring some of my stuff on you as I write it?"

"Sartin you may. Any time, I'll be tickled to death. I'll be
tickled to have you call, too; that is, if callin' on an old salt
like me won't be too tirin'."

The answer was emphatic and reassuring.

"Thank you," said Captain Elisha. "I'm much obliged. Come often,
do. I--well, the fact is, I'm likely to get sort of lonesome
myself, I'm afraid. Yes, I shouldn't wonder if I did."

He sighed, tossed away the stump of his cigar, and added,

"Now, I want to ask you somethin'. You newspaper fellers are
supposed to know about all there is to know of everything under the
sun. Do you know much about the Stock Exchange?"

Pearson smiled.

"All I can afford to know," he said.

"Humph! That's a pretty good answer. Knowledge is power, they
say, but--but I cal'late knowledge of the Stock Exchange is
poverty, with a good many folks."

"I think you're right, Captain. It's none of my business, but--
were you planning to tackle Wall Street?"

Captain Elisha glanced, under his brows, at his new friend, and his
eyes twinkled.

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